or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › AuthenTec cofounder shows off early prototype of Apple's Touch ID
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

AuthenTec cofounder shows off early prototype of Apple's Touch ID

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
F. Scott Moody, the cofounder of Apple-acquired company AuthenTec, gave a presentation this week on the origins of what is now the Touch ID technology found in the iPhone 5s, and AppleInsider was present for a hands-on with an early prototype fingerprint scanner.

AuthenTec


Moody spoke Tuesday night to students at North Carolina State University's Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. There, he recalled anecdotes about developing the technology that would eventually become Apple's Touch ID, and what made AuthenTec an appealing acquisition.

He explained to the students that it's AuthenTec's technology behind an 8-millimeter by 8-millimeter sensor found beneath the iPhone 5s home button.Early versions of Touch ID were dubbed FingerLoc, with a fingerprint scanning box connected via ribbon to another, even larger box.

"We're looking at pores, structures of ridges and valleys, and instantaneously tell who you are," Moody said. "Every time you use it, it learns more about you. Because it knows, 'This is Alex,' every time you use it gets easier and easier."

The first version of AuthenTec's fingerprint sensor wasn't quite as elegant as the tiny scanner found underneath the iPhone 5s home button. Moody brought with him the FingerLoc, an early predecessor to Touch ID, which came in a large box much bigger than an iPhone. And that box was connected via a ribbon cable to an even larger device that powered it.

After creating the bulky FingerLoc prototype, Moody visited with venture capitalists to explain his vision: Shrink the technology down, and make it embeddable in smaller devices. Early demos, however, featured a hole in a table with the FingerLoc box underneath, hooked up to what Moody called "the biggest PC we could find."

AuthenTec


Things didn't always go as planned, either. Moody recalled one demo where he was presenting to the chief technology officer of IBM, back before the company had sold its PC division to Lenovo. IBM was an early proponent of mobile fingerprint scanners, prominently featuring them in its business-oriented ThinkPad line of notebooks.

Unfortunately, that demo went poorly: IBM's CTO tested the technology, and was incorrectly identified as AuthenTec cofounder Dale Setlak.AuthenTec's early demos didn't always go as planned, but once the company perfected its technology, Apple showed intense interest.

"I joked that all CTO fingerprints look the same," Moody said. "He didn't buy it."

Though the early versions were both buggy and bulky, what drove FingerLoc was essentially "a piece of silicon" that was improved over time, he said.

"We convinced people that the signal processing and work could be shrunk into an exceedingly small sensor that we eventually got down to 80 cents," he said.

The metal ring around early prototype scanners, just like the one in the iPhone 5s home button, works like a capacitor, sending a signal through the user's finger that allows it to sense through the outer layer of dead skin, into an inner layer where the skin is alive. Moody said AuthenTec worked closely with a number of dermatologists in development to perfect the technology.

AuthenTec


"With other sensors, your ridges would collapse into the valleys. Ours doesn't," he said.

Once the early technology and size issues were resolved, the AuthenTec team worked to make the sensor even more embeddable and sleek. Along the way, he said, there was a lot of trial and error and failed experiments, but he and his team learned from each of them as they refined their technology.

When AuthenTec came out with their final product, the company generated interest from a number of customers, including Apple, Motorola and Fujitsu. Apple, in particular, "ate it up," Moody said, and eventually bought the entire company in 2012 for $356 million.

"We had a great team of engineers -- which I think is highlighted by the fact that Apple kept the engineering team," he said.

For Moody, the goal in AuthenTec's product was to make users' lives easier. The development of the company's fingerprint scanner was aimed at enhancing privacy and aiding in convenience in a way that would be accessible to all users.

"I didn't care about government standards for fingerprint sensors, I cared about low cost and identifying you in a cheap and accurate way," he said. "I'm not hooked to the tech, but what I'm hooked into is what the tech can do for you, the user."
post #2 of 22
1) Funny. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fingerlock

2) Also funny


3) 2-page pdf, informative
http://www.macrogroup.ru/content/data/store/images/f_295_925_1.pdf
"Fibonacci: As easy as 1, 1, 2, 3..."
Reply
"Fibonacci: As easy as 1, 1, 2, 3..."
Reply
post #3 of 22
"I'm not hooked to the tech, but what I'm hooked into is what the tech can do for you, the user." ... Looks like the motto of Apple! : )
post #4 of 22

I'd like to know how Authentec scanner is different from run of the mill?

 

So it reads below the surface?  Can other vendors copy this tech.  I know the HTC max has a scanner and it sucks

post #5 of 22

Nice background story. Imagine how history would be different if IBM had been persuaded.

post #6 of 22
And so not only does Apple acquire a significant lead on what will soon be an indispensable piece of tech, it also acquires "a great team of engineers", who will continue to add new tech in the future.

Apple the Amazing.
post #7 of 22
Is it patented?
post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

I'd like to know how Authentec scanner is different from run of the mill?

So it reads below the surface?  Can other vendors copy this tech.  I know the HTC max has a scanner and it sucks

Maybe HTC is using the Validity sensor
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by tzeshan View Post

Is it patented?

What good is a patent if some one is going to steal it? /s
post #10 of 22
Was FingerBang taken? 1biggrin.gif

How hold is that device? It looks like it's a good 2 decades old to be that large and that ugly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

I'd like to know how Authentec scanner is different from run of the mill?

So it reads below the surface?  Can other vendors copy this tech.  I know the HTC max has a scanner and it sucks

It uses RF to read in the dermis, but based on the reported 30 hours hack already performed on the iPhone 5S sensor I'm guessing it's not sensitive enough to really discern too much accurately, at least on that measurement.

The HTC Max's scanner, among it's many faults, requires the user to do a very particular swiping motion. Clearly this is inherently different from Touch ID that can not only read a statically placed finger, but can determine a relatively secure match nearly instantly, and in any direction you place the finger. I had my doubts about Touch ID but it truly is convenience which therefore offers security to the more than 50% of the population that was too put out to use even a four digit PIN.

Because of Touch ID I know have a complex password for my device instead of just the 4 digit PIN since I won't have to input it often.
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post


What good is a patent if some one is going to steal it? /s


What is the purpose of patent?

post #12 of 22
I'm curious to find out how fast Samsung can crack that technology through reverse-engineering. It might have taken Authentec years to develop their sensor but Samsung will probably figure it out in a matter of months. I sure hope Apple has a lot of patents in place for their fingerprint sensor or every Android smartphone will have one that works just as well and probably be a lot less expensive. Apple always leaves itself wide open for copycatting by rivals which will continue to weigh on Apple's share price.
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post

I'm curious to find out how fast Samsung can crack that technology through reverse-engineering. It might have taken Authentec years to develop their sensor but Samsung will probably figure it out in a matter of months. I sure hope Apple has a lot of patents in place for their fingerprint sensor or every Android smartphone will have one that works just as well and probably be a lot less expensive. Apple always leaves itself wide open for copycatting by rivals which will continue to weigh on Apple's share price.


You're assuming the sensor is all about the hardware tech, which it is not.  There's a lot of software running in there to make the whole thing work.  Given Samsung's track record, they may be able to make an exact copy of the sensor, but they will (and usually do) suck on the software side so it will once again be a half-a$$ attempt.  That is something Samsung is very good at doing.

Apple is not the one's leaving itself wide open for the Xerox fans.  The blame falls squarely on the patent/justice system that cannot keep up with the pace of tech and companies like Samsung taking advantage of that by blatantly infringing Apple's IP and not worrying too much as it will be literally years before the courts get involved and by then, they made their billions, move to copying the next round of Apple's tech, and the fines (if any) that companies like Samsung will pay is chump-change and ends up being nothing more than the cost of doing business.

post #14 of 22

Loose lips sink AuthenTec chips.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

When AuthenTec came out with their final product, the company generated interest from a number of customers, including Apple, Motorola and Fujitsu. Apple, in particular, "ate it up," Moody said, and eventually bought the entire company in 2012 for $356 million.

I would be curious how much has changed with AuthenTec's technology since it originally debuted on the Motorola Atrix before Apple purchased AuthenTec.

post #16 of 22

HTC's FingerPrint scanner is getting panned. First, it requires a swiping motion. Second it is on the back of the phone so you have no clue where it really is. The crowning FU though is it is adjacent to the cameras lens so you are almost always going to swipe you oily finger over the lens.

 

This implementation is a joke (maybe a check off item? more like a jerk off item).

 

I can hear HTC now: at release "me too, me too we got one of those"; after reviews come in panning it (which they have) they say "users did not really want this anyway, its a gimmick -- just like that 64 bit stuff".

post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Damn_Its_Hot View Post

HTC's FingerPrint scanner is getting panned. First, it requires a swiping motion. Second it is on the back of the phone so you have no clue where it really is. The crowning FU though is it is adjacent to the cameras lens so you are almost always going to swipe you oily finger over the lens.

This implementation is a joke (maybe a check off item? more like a jerk off item).

I can hear HTC now: at release "me too, me too we got one of those"; after reviews come in panning it (which they have) they say "users did not really want this anyway, its a gimmick -- just like that 64 bit stuff".

I've been telling my friends about the difference between apple and most android devices and this finger print sensor is the perfect example.

It just goes to show how ease of use, fluidity, thought and care apple takes in their products.

The speed of this thing is paramount too.

If I could enter a swipe and 4 digit password faster then it wouldn't be as useful.

Android will play ketchup but it will be another obvious example to "finger point" at a copy cat.

Sorry could resist the pun.

By the way, apple has copied too but at least they put their own spin and value behind the innovation.
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negafox View Post
 

I would be curious how much has changed with AuthenTec's technology since it originally debuted on the Motorola Atrix before Apple purchased AuthenTec.


Motorola implemented it on Atrix differently from Apple. This is how much has changed I think. 

post #19 of 22
For those interested in some good insight in the topic, read this article (and his other posts):

http://acceptingpayments.quora.com/Guess-Who-Image-From-A-Patent-With-A-Fingerprint-Scanner
post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by tzeshan View Post


What is the purpose of patent?

The purpose is to act like garlic to ward off trolls and such.
"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
Reply
"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
Reply
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by akqies View Post

It uses RF to read in the dermis, but based on the reported 30 hours hack already performed on the iPhone 5S sensor I'm guessing it's not sensitive enough to really discern too much accurately, at least on that measurement.
Both Apple and Authentec say that their system learns, I wonder if the hack would still work after say a hundred uses?

Does only detection improve over time (less false negatives), or does identification too (less false positives)? Does this help cut out fake fingerprints?
-- Denis.
Reply
-- Denis.
Reply
post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by jido View Post

Both Apple and Authentec say that their system learns, I wonder if the hack would still work after say a hundred uses?

Does only detection improve over time (less false negatives), or does identification too (less false positives)? Does this help cut out fake fingerprints?

Those are interesting questions that I hope we one get answers too.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Discussion
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › AuthenTec cofounder shows off early prototype of Apple's Touch ID